Saint James Anglican Church

Joseph Howe Drive at the Armdale Rotary, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada             


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Rector's Messages

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Harvest 2007

 

"The Earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world and all who dwell therein." (Ps. 24:1)

 

There is a short time just after sunrise when the sun hovers huge, brilliant and spectacular over the water. It's a miraculous event-even for someone like me who is not normally an early "morning person". When I lived on the northeastern tip of Cape Breton Island, the fishing boats steamed out in the pre-dawn. They were at work and beautifully backlit during sunrise. At the end of the day, not all that far away on the other side of the island, there is a similar miracle. The sun hovers red and huge and low before dropping below the ocean on the western horizon. I think of Psalm nineteen "In the deep God has set a pavilion for the sunů." I recall that well-known creation hymn "For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies." Just think of the out door venue for so many great spiritual events, according to the scriptures: the call to Moses in the burning bush, the crossing of the Red Sea, the manna from heaven on the desert floor, the miracle of loaves and fishes on the grassy hill, the appearance of the risen Christ beside the sea of Galilee. Whenever Christians have celebrated baptisms in the waters of a river or lake the symbolism is rich and refreshing. Out door Communion services are alive with the biblical images of manna and of loaves and fishes. Saints, prophets and average folk alike have communed with God in the stillness of the great out doors. There is no form of human work that is not grounded, directly or indirectly, in the miracle of creation. As the Psalmist tells us "The Earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world and all who dwell therein."

 

God's creation of the Earth is the prototypical divine mystery. The Earth is where God is revealed. It is where God provides. The earth and its inhabitants are the object of God's redeeming love. The signs of our incorporation into God's love in Christ, the water of baptism and the bread and wine of Eucharist, are themselves creatures from the hand of the creator. Surely part of our response to God in Christ is to respect the earth as a spiritual place. Harvest thanksgiving can be an opportunity to reflect on the connection between our spiritual life and our life on the Earth. Do we know the Earth as a profoundly spiritual place? Do we care for the environment? Are we concerned for the future of the planet? Are the resources of the Earth shared among all God's children? Scripture tells us that upon completing the work of creation, God saw that it was very good. As partners in creation, ours is a work in progress. Dare we say that our relationship to God's world is a good one so far? May we be actively and continually thankful for the blessing of the created order-the dwelling place of God's pilgrim people.

 

The Rev. Canon Rod Gillis

Harvest 2007

 

O God, the source of all life, you have filled the earth with beauty. Open our eyes to see your gracious hand in all your works that rejoicing in your whole creation we may learn to serve you with gladness, through Jesus Christ our Lord.